Christians involved in the follow-up of Christian satellite TV programs rarely get to meet the people they speak with in person, let alone save their lives. Algerian Labib, however, was able to play a crucial role in the life of Rafi—someone he knew only as a voice on the other end of the line.
It was 2 a.m. in Algeria, and Labib´s house was dark and quiet. The entire family was asleep when his phone suddenly rang. Labib didn´t know what to expect. As a follow-up worker for the Christian TV station can, he receives many telephone calls from people throughout Algeria who have been touched by the Christian television programs. Some are reluctant, some are eager to learn more, while others are even angry about the broadcasts. This caller, however, was different.
“I woke up with a start,” Labib shared. “On the other end of the line was the voice of a man who sounded very tired and frightened. He said, ‘I’m the most stressed man in the world. I can no longer deal with my situation. I am under terrible pressure from my wife and her family. I am going to hang myself because my situation is unbearable.’”
Labib realized he was probably the only one in the world at that moment able to prevent this man from committing suicide. While silently praying for the man on the other end of the line, he listened to the caller, Rafi, the father of a family in the northern Algerian region of Kabylie.
After watching Christian television programs, Rafi has become increasingly interested in the gospel of Jesus Christ and has started to follow Him. His decision brought immediate backlash from his wife and in-laws.
His mother and father-in-law started interfering, demanding that Rafi denounce his newfound religious beliefs. That night, they threatened to take his wife away from him, and Rafi cracked under the pressure. Overwhelmed by the pressure and threats, he fled as he felt that he was running out of options. In the middle of the night, he became desperate to find a way out of the situation. Wandering around the neighborhood, he stumbled upon the deserted shed of a relative seeking a quiet place to commit his final act.
With the rope already around his neck, Rafi realized there was one other person who had always been willing to listen to him—Labib from the CNA help line. He took out his phone and called him. “I told him to stop immediately,” Labib recalled. “At the same time, I started to call on the Name of Jesus to bind the spirit that was pushing him to suicide. I kept praying for him, and thanks to God, he started to listen. I continued to talk of the hope the gospel brings and the greatness of God who can transform his situation.’’
As he talked with Rafi, Labib made his way to his pastor whom he asked for assistance. The pastor took over the telephone from Labib and finally convinced Rafi to abandon his plans to take his own life. The pastor invited Rafi to visit a church in his region the next Sunday and promised he and Labib would be there to greet him. At church that Sunday, the three met in person and Rafi was deeply encouraged by his meeting with other brothers and sisters.
“Currently, he is doing well. Glory to God, he was saved at the last minute,” Labib said. “Although Rafi’s in-laws and wife still do not accept his Christian beliefs, he is now able to maintain his faith. Through the prayers of brothers and sisters at his church, the immense pressure from his wife and her family which weighed him down are being eased.”
Father God, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for Your saving grace in Rafi’s life through the work of your servant Labib. Thank You for Your use of the means of satellite radio to bring the truth of Your gospel to those who have little or no access to Your Word. We thank You too for men like Labib who pour out their lives for these new believers, and are there to connect them to the fellowship and discipleship of local churches. Thank You for the encouragement of this real life story of the power and presence of Your Holy Spirit in the lives of Your people. In the Name of Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Amen.